Dutch to prove their class

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: July 5 2014, 20:51 BST

Our Andy Schooler previews Saturday's second World Cup quarter-final and expects the Netherlands to make smooth progress.

Arjen Robben and the Dutch can beat Costa Rica to nil
Arjen Robben and the Dutch can beat Costa Rica to nil

Our Andy Schooler previews Saturday's second World Cup quarter-final and expects the Netherlands to make smooth progress.

The Dutch face Costa Rica in the late game and are taken to progress with a 'win to nil'

Netherlands v Costa Rica, quarter-finals, Salvador, 2100 BST

Having played their last-16 clash in the toughest conditions of the tournament, the Dutch will be drained to at least some extent for this quarter-final.

However, two late goals saw them beat the Mexicans in Fortaleza and good news followed in the sense that Costa Rica went the distance with Greece - with 10 men for a long period - before progressing on penalties.

Conceding an injury-time equaliser in normal time of that clash has effectively deprived them of an advantage here and now I'd expect the Dutch to prove the gulf in class.

Costa Rica, who have Oscar Durate suspended after his red card against the Greeks, have won many friends for their run to the last eight but although they may have topped a group containing Italy, England and Uruguay, the Netherlands have already proven they are a better side than any of those.

They have two world-class match-winners in Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie and, unlike many supposedly top-quality players, both have already delivered at this tournament.

The loss of Nigel de Jong to injury is certainly a blow but with coach Louis van Gaal having already shown he is happy to tweak the team's formation whenever necessary, the new Manchester United boss is well placed to come up with an alternative arrangement.

Either way, the Netherlands look worthy favourites.

While the Central Americans will doubtless look to reap dividends from the absence of De Jong, they struggled to break down the well-organised Greek defence last time out when chances were at a premium. As well as they've done, they lack serious weapons going forward and I'd expect something similar to unfold here.

A win to nil for the Dutch can be backed at 5/4 which seems fair enough to me.

Verdict: Netherlands 2 Costa Rica 0

Opta facts:

Netherlands have won 10 of their last 11 World Cup matches, with the only blip in this run being their 2010 final defeat against Spain.

The Netherlands have now turned their last four World Cup games in which they fell behind in regular time (90 mins, not inc. ET) into a victories.

Seven different players have scored for the Netherlands at this World Cup.

Costa Rica have beaten just one European side in their last seven encounters with teams from that continent, though this did come against Italy earlier in the World Cup (D3 L3).

Los Ticos have scored in all but one of their nine World Cup matches against teams from Europe, failing to score against England earlier in the tournament.

Wesley Sneijder has scored five goals in his last five World Cup knockout matches for the Netherlands.

The Netherlands have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 World Cup knockout games, last keeping a shutout against Ireland in 1994.

The Netherlands are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with teams representing CONCACAF (W10 D1) and have scored at least twice in 10 of those games.

  • Posted at 1735 BST on 04/07/2014.